Comments on prophesies
The letter by Gilbert Bush in the October issue of ST-Log demands a different answer than the one given by Clayton Walnum. I am a loyal Atari booster, or have been until now. I started into the computer revolution at a late age with an Atari 800 when they were being supplanted by the XLs. I stuck with the 40-column display, the slow execution times and many of the other limitations it had. It was the forerunner of what could be done to satisfy the home user and the needs of the personal computer user in the business environment. It could run rings around the other computers of that day.
Then the bottom dropped out of the home computer market, and all the players took a long, slow ride to the bottom—or worse, were out of the game. Atari survived in spite of Warner Communications. They survived only because of the loyalty of the Atari users who recognized the capabilities of the 8-bit machine that they had.
Then along came Jack! Riding out of the rising sun he came, and he purchased Atari, vowing that Atari would rise above the ashes and conquer the fire-breathing dragons that dominated the personal computer market. We no longer had to dress in blue jeans or eat applesauce. Best of all, we were going to get the option of expanding our Atari-land into the 16/32-bit world—power without the price!
We are now several years older. The ol' world has spun in circles a few more times and so has Atari. It seems we may be back at the same point we were a few years ago: back at the starting gate. This time we not only have an 8-bit game machine, but a 16/32-bit one as well. Applesauce and blue jeans, here we come again. Maybe the commodore of the computer fleet sent Jack over like a Trojan horse to destroy from within.
But some of us will continue to bang on our "mooshi" keyboards, live with the buggy ROM operating system and keep the hope alive that we may still get the implied blitter upgrade for our old 520s and 1040s. We will continue to rely on backroom memory upgrades, public domain software and user groups to keep our machines alive. But there will be many others who will join the crowds that already follow one of the gurus that wear blue jeans or eat applesauce.
Believe me, I think my 1040ST computer has great possibilities. If I have to, I will continue to operate my computer in a closet as long as it will run. You see, I can't afford a new set of blue jeans, and I gag on applesauce.
I am not one who believes that the warnings verbalized by Gilbert Bush, and others, about the shortcomings of the computer company we are tied to are self-fulfilling prophecies. The only ones who will make that happen will be Jack, et al. Atari must get behind us and see that Atari owners are supported. It must make serious efforts to aggressively market its products. Any failure will be caused by Atari itself, not by those of us who are frustrated with vaporware. So far, all Jack has done is shoot himself in my foot.
—Douglas J. Van Sandt